23 Jun 2016

Electricity prices, The Coalition, the election agenda and the case for not mentioning it.

We were told electricity would not rise because they removed the carbon tax? This is what happened!

In case you had forgotten, electricity prices were a really big deal in the last federal election campaign in 2013, albeit often disguised under the rubric of axe the tax. Then Coalition spokesmen quite deliberately and repeatedly conflated the term carbon tax with electricity tax.

Clearly this was deemed acceptable in the court of public opinion. The justification was that Labor’s carbon pricing mechanism specifically targeted the electricity sector rather than other key emission intensive sectors of the economy such as land-use and transport.

This time round, in the 2016 election campaign, electricity prices are much less prominent. The Coalition would have us believe that by axing the tax they have driven electricity prices down. The flow on effect from reduced household expenses is a rise in consumer confidence. And that, we are told, is a key stimulus in maintaining growth in face of strong economic headwinds, and one we shouldn’t risk by changing government.

However, this is all a bit strange, because wholesale electricity prices have almost doubled over what they were at the equivalent stage of the last election cycle. Incredibly, they are 300% above what they were in the 2010 election.

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